temple #8 of now 18 (up from 17 since #LDSconf aka General Conference happened & President Monsoon announced the Saratoga Springs temple - aka one more for Utah!!!) on my utah temple tour was the Monticello Utah Temple on Friday, April 7th, 2017! (:
i'd never ever been to this temple, but oh my goodness i'm pretty sure that 4-hour drive was the most beautiful of any of the temple trips that I've completed so far!! i am so lucky to have such an awesome friend like sam who was willing to spend 8+ hours in a car with me (& even more time in a restaurant & the temple) for this beautiful trip to southeastern utah!
this fun trip & temple Endowment session was just the two of us this time: me & my gorgeous friend Samantha Simon. (: isn't she the cutest!?
*note: yes, it had been over a month since my last (organized) temple trip, when i went to monticello. long story short - i got a liiiiiiittle bit burnt out coordinating so many trips so quickly & inviting everyone along, haha. it's good though because i definitely learned more about the principle of balance & also learned more about myself through that process, and i was happy to resume to my temple tour on this day! i just decided that instead of trying to visit all of the utah temples before i graduate, i'd try to make sure i visited all of them before the end of may - - and a future blog post will explain my reasoning behind that one (: #staytuned!*
i loved walking into this temple & feeling almost right at home! this is the first "smaller" temple that President Gordon B. Hinckley announced would be built around the world (you can read more about that by clicking HERE), and my "home" temple back in ohio is a smaller one super similar to it. case in point:
columbus ohio temple:
monticello utah temple:
can you see the resemblance!? (;
it may have looked like a gloomy day outside, but it was gorgeous inside & out! love love love those overcast days. (: the monticello temple inside was actually a bit smaller (seriously, didn't know that was possible, but it totally is!) than the columbus ohio temple. so crazy! but still so pretty. (:
(ps just for fun - the photo below is proof of how WINDY i believe it was while we were there, haha! #crazyhair):
& also for fun, a typical #templeselfie! you gotta see yourself in/at the temple somehow, right?! (;
the session was wonderful! i loved being with sam & hanging out with her in the temple (and during our 8 hour round-trip drive) was just beyond awesome. we have tons in common & get along so well! i especially loved walking out after the session & seeing the beeaaauuttiful but barren land surrounding us as we took some photos outside. that's my little car in the distance! it's amazing how seemingly "in the middle of nowhere" this temple is, but clearly there are enough members of the LDS church in the surrounding areas to have made it be constructed! (:
so cute. so quaint. and so beautiful! it was fun to FaceTime both mama & daddy while i was down there to show them how pretty it all was (the temple; the scenery; & etc!). i only wish i had taken some photos on the way from provo --> monticello - it was seriously such a gorgeous drive! well worth those 4 hours in the car there & back. (:
i couldn't decide if i liked the overcast (natural - beautiful) photo better, or the second one (with the HDR correction from my iPhone that makes the temple look so shinyyyy and beautiful & bright). so that's why i have both. (:
we actually went to eat before our session (after driving for 4 hours, we figured it was best to eat before sitting down for another 2 ;), and we chose to do so at pj's restaurant right up the road from the temple in this cute little town!
crazy story: on yelp there is a reviewer that made some kind of comment about this restaurant and how "Apparently this place doesn't get the business it should because they have gone out of favor with the Mormon Church" [via]. what!? lol sam & i both thought that was odd - and we were hungry (and the place we had originally intended to eat at was closed! sad day), so we went in to eat there & didn't see any reason why members of the LDS church wouldn't like it, haha! nothing to necessarily write home about, but yummy food to fill our stomachs before a great session at the temple. (:
this photo of the restaurant was snapped by my phone on the way out of monticello, since i forgot to take one before our session. (:
overall, it was a wonderful trip! sam & i enjoyed counting all of the JEEPS on our drive back to provo (i think we counted over 100 jeeps in less than 2 hours!!) due to the jeep safari that upcoming weekend in moab (about an hour west of monticello). we loved doing that simply because sam drives a jeep and is from florida and long story short we thought it'd be a fun game for our long drive back, haha. (:
funny story though: the pull-off for arches national park is literally right off of that main road that we were driving on to get to monticello, and there is a little stoplight (i'm assuming) to help the people leaving the park get back into traffic safely. well, on our drive back to provo, i see two kids hanging out right on this side of the road by the "arches national park" sign & a dad trying to take their photo, and i immediately pulled off & told sam that i'd help that dad take a picture real quick (since it was so conveniently right off the road!) so that he could be in it, too!
lo & behold, when i pull off, i realize that that dad is none other than my beatles bff jeff from my sophomore year at byu! & his lovely wife reesa was hiding behind the sign, i think, haha, holding up one of their two beautiful kiddos (wendy & walter)! SUCH a small world! we three (jeff, reesa & i) were all in the same ward my sophomore year at byu & i'm so grateful to have them as friends & to have been able to see them wayyyyyy outside of provo (where i believe we all live, haha) on my monticello trip. (: #smallworldmoment for sure! plus, aren't their kiddos adorable!? gorgeous family, inside & out. (:
so, of course, sam took a picture for all of us to document the experience ;) long story short - i feel like on so many of my #utahtempletour2017 adventures that i've run into longtime friends & other people that i haven't seen in awhile, either on my way inside/out of or somewhere around the temple/on the trip (planned & unplanned). basically, God is great & His tender mercies are really real. i know it. (:
sam & i made it back to provo before too long (okay, so after 4 hours of driving...hahaha) - & this probably goes down as my longest #utahtempletour2017 day trip, but it was totally worth it & wonderful to get to spend it with one of my good friends! so grateful that sam was willing to put up with me for that long that day & still want to be my friend after. (;
well, this makes temple 10/18! only 8 more to go!
& per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day:
#lifeisgrand & #ilovetoseethetemple (: (: (: